Walking in other men’s shoes

July 1, 2010

I reckon I’ve spent about $120 on shoes on Trade Me this year. For this outlay I’ve received four pairs of very solid, classy, high end shoes — classic style, old-school welts, leather sole, good condition. Only one pair has not fit, and I’m going to sell it again, or maybe trade them in at my favourite second hand clothes shop, so I expect to realise a small loss on them. I reckon I am still well, well ahead of the game here. I have shoes which prompt unsolicited compliments for a fraction of the price they would have cost new. In fact, I found one pair of the very same make and style in a Cuba St vintage shop for twice what I paid on Trade Me.

Trade Me’s saved search facility has been very helpful. I have a saved search in the mens shoes 8-8.5 category on “loake OR barker OR grenson OR church OR vintage” which pretty much covers anything of interest, ie English-made welted shoes and odd old ones. The thing about the English welted shoes is that they are generally made to a very high standard and are designed to be resoled and have a long life.

Another thing I’ve learned is to ask for measurements as well as the size. People can be a bit vague about US vs UK sizes, and sizing varies anyway, so find out how long and how wide the shoes are and compare this with a pair that fits.

Knowing how to do a good spit shine has also brought them up a treat. Old leather, well polished, looks better to me than new.

About the only problem is that the shoes are very nice, and the pleasure of acquiring a bargain is strong, so I’m kind of tempted now to keep going and buy more shoes than I need. I guess I need to delete that saved search…

At a meta level, I believe I’ve practised proper purchasing. I read up on the subject. I looked around to find out what the normal price was. I took the time to find a cheap source. I lurked and ruminated before buying. Mission accomplished.


  1. I really like this idea, but how do you answer those (who may even live in the same house as you) who would say “Wearing OTHER PEOPLE’S SHOES? Ewwwwwwwww!”?

  2. Yes – wearing other peoples shoes??

    (mind, my resistance is lowered recently, my partner, he has the same shoe size as me and regularly I find my shoes on his feet, so I’ve taken to wearing his from time to time.)

  3. Easy, you answer it by saying “I’m recycling and not just pissing around at the shopping bag level”
    Ever been out to the recycled clothing shops in the Hutt? The one on Waione St between Petone beach and the Hutt Bridge has plenty of good stuff and you can try it all on in the shop.

  4. (Sorry for the tardiness — I’ve been out of town and off-grid).

    Um, I just ignore the ick factor. It’s irrational, and I don’t know if we can really argue away irrational fears. I suppose to the extent it may depress demand, frugal people should encourage it.

  5. Actually, try this: put on your best deadpan expression and say “they’ll be fine once they’ve been restored.” Then change the subject.

  6. I admire your taste in shoes, and recommend you find and use shoe trees in them: they help keep the shape as designed while they dry out between wearing. I have shoes I bought j15 – 20 years ago and they still wear well. Other key tip is to never wear the same pair on consecutive days.

    Good wearing – why not post a pic of them in a nice spit-polished line?

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